Sunday, 10 December 2017

Acts Chapter 23 - A Murder Plot

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Coming near the end of this great book of Acts now with chapter 23.

Where did we leave Paul at the end of chapter 22  Paul's Defense?



Well Paul was in Jerusalem defending himself with his life story and had just surprised the Roman Commander by explaining that he himself was a Roman citizen and the next day

verses 30 of  chapter 22

30 The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.


Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin which was


an assembly of twenty-three to seventy-one men appointed in every city 
This court dealt with only religious matters.
(wikipedia)


So let's see Chapter 23


verses 1 - 10

Straight away the High Priest is not happy with Paul because he says he has in verse 1

... lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

He is ordered to be struck on the face.

Paul's stands up for himself claiming that the High Priest has actually broken the law in ordering this action on him.

However Paul had not realised that it was the High Priest he was talking to so has to apologize for speaking badly of a ruler of the people.

But then knowing that there are Pharisees and Sadducees present he says

 “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”

The Pharisees believe in the resurrection but the Sadducees do not so that caused an uproar between the two sides and the commander feared Paul might be hurt so has to get him out of there.

I wonder did Paul do this deliberately? 
He was a very learned person so did know all the religious laws but was also a clever person so could well have known that the commander would have to keep him safe while in his custody and his statement would annoy the Sadducees and cause dissension among the two groups leaving the threat of danger to him.
But of course he ended up being held prisoner.
Was this better or worse?


verses 11 - 15

 We are not told by Luke of how Paul is feeling but the Lord obviously knows as He knows everything about us because we are told in verse 11 that the Lord came to Paul and spoke to him

“Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

This was obviously to tell Paul that God had a plan for him and he would go on from Jerusalem to Rome and have to witness for God there as well.

God knows what we need to hear and when we need to hear it.

Paul needed to know that He was in God's plan and there still was more to do in this plan because others had a plan as well but this one was driven by hatred as we see in verse 12

12 And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.


There were over 40 people and their plan was to ambush Paul telling the chief priests and elders to have him brought down for them to question him the next day and they would kill him on the way there.

These men were plotting murder and wanted the chief priests and elders (the religious leaders) to help them do so.

Why do we find it hard to believe that Satan will use people who are religious but not true Christians to promote hatred towards others within our churches today?
And why do we be surprised when many leaders fall into sin?

We should never underestimate the hatred that Satan can stir up from the evil he will whisper into the minds of any of us if we are not careful to always obey God's Word and to live as God has ordained we should.


We should never underestimate the hatred that Satan can stir up from the evil he will whisper into minds

This brings a verse back into my mind today; a verse I remember learning as a teenager and often think about

Psalm 37 v 23


The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
and he delights in his way.

but of course we know we are not perfect and so does God so we must not forget verse 24 too

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, 
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.


How can we be like the good man spoken of in Psalm 37 above?


How can we be like the good man spoken of in Psalm 37

Well I think we can see how from another verse I learned as a teenager

Micah 6 v 8

He hath shown thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?


Obedience and humility are key to walking in God's way.




I learnt this one as a song which is one of the best ways to learn scripture.


So back to Paul - will he survive this plan to kill him?

Well we have had a hint to the answer to that already in the chapter and we'll talk about that in the next blog post.










Interested to know more about the Book of Acts?
Then Try these commentaries




Or this Bible Study



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